5 Myths about Exercise and Older Adults
Myth 1: Thereís no point to exercising. Iím going to get old anyway.
Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimerís and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Myth 2: Elderly people shouldnít exercise. They should save their strength and rest.
Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for the elderly. Period. Inactivity often causes seniors to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.
Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down.
Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.
Myth 4: Itís too late. Iím already too old, to start exercising
Fact: Youíre never too old to exercise! If youíve never exercised before, or itís been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities.
Myth 5: Iím disabled. I canít exercise sitting down.
Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health.
The whole-body benefits of exercise for seniors
As you age, regular exercise is more important than ever to your body and mind.
Physical health benefits of senior exercise and fitness
∑ Exercise helps seniors maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, overall wellness improves.
∑ Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Among the many benefits of exercise for seniors include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. Seniors who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimerís disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.
Exercise enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance in seniors. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Mental health benefits of senior exercise and fitness
∑ Exercise improves your sleep. Poor sleep is not an automatic consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
∑ Exercise boosts mood and self-confidence. Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self confident and sure of yourself.
∑ Exercise is good for the brain. Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimerís disease.